The Waitakere Ranges are 30,000 hectares of bush-covered hills to the west of Auckland, that reach the black sand beaches of the wild west coast and the Manukau harbour. Rain forested peaks of over 300m high which extend to the eastern foothills bordering the suburbs of Auckland city, and also to the coastal villages along the Manukau Harbour and Auckland's wild west coast beaches.
The Waitakere Ranges region is one of our natural treasures, rich in native flora and fauna, and home to the giants of the forest, the mighty kauri tree.
Richness of Waitakere’s Biodiversity
The Waitakere Ranges are botanically rich containing 20% of all New Zealand’s flowering plant species and 60% of all native fern species. Although the following statistics are drawn from a number of sources and subject to change, the Ranges are home to:
· 542 species of native plant (111 species of these being native ferns) Many species of nationally threatened and regionally threatened plant
· 50 species of native bird
· 3 species of kauri snail (large land snail)
· 11 species of native freshwater fish
· 5 species of native reptiles
· 1 native frog
· 1 native mammal (long-tailed bat)
Native fish species
the most common native fish species found in streams in the Auckland region are:
· shortfin Eel
· longfin Eel
· common Bully
· banded Kokopu
· redfin Bully
· common Smelt.
The uncommon species are Crans bully and giant kokopu.
Threats to the nature of Waitakere
The Famous Kauri tree has the kauri dieback disease
This is what it is and what it does.
The pathogens (germs) can sense a kauri trees roots, and swim towards them using a tail-like flagella.
There is no cure for kauri dieback disease, and the disease kills most if not all the kauri it infects. It can be spread by just a pinhead of soil, and you can't tell by looking whether a tree is infected or not. Kauri dieback disease is threatening kauri with functional extinction.
To prevent this disease from spreading there are stations placed at hiking tracks where these trees are located where you can disinfect your shoes and clean them this is a great initiative to help save the kauri trees.
In and around Waitakere
Off course there is more to do and to see around Waitakere. Next to the hike trails and KareKare Falls, there is the beautiful Piha with a black-sand beach which is a great location to learn to surf. There is also Arataki Visitor Centre where you can learn everything about the surrounding of Waitakere. If you are keen to combine all these adventures you can click here.
Source: Waitakere City Biodiversity Report 2017